Russia Claims Its New Main Battle Tank Will Be Able to Run on Mars

Thursday, 14 September 2017 - 10:07AM
Technology
Mars
Thursday, 14 September 2017 - 10:07AM
Russia Claims Its New Main Battle Tank Will Be Able to Run on Mars
Image credit: YouTube, Korean People's Army
Don't believe everything you read online—especially when it's a state-run media outlet that claims its government has a new tank that's fit to run on Mars. Leaving aside the worrying question that someone in Russia's media team is already attempting to create spin for a future war with the Red Planet, claims from Sputnik News that Russia's newest tank is "fit for Martian temperature" has stirred up some controversy in the science community.

The T-14 Armata is the result of a very expensive new project from Russia's military to produce an advanced tank with an engine that won't be fazed by the country's legendarily cold winters. The key feature that sets this particular tank apart is a diesel engine that relies on a new form of super-condenser that allows the tank to start up even in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit).



According to Milkhail Livshits, head of high-tech asset management for Renova, the company who built the engine:

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"We tested the super-condenser to start the engine of a tank that had spent several days in very cold weather so its batteries were dead. We still managed to rev it up with the help of a mobile power station built around a super-condenser the size of briefcase."
Closing quote


Creating an engine that can run in such extreme environments is an impressive feat, leading Sputnik News to claim that the T-15 Armata could even endure the Red Planet's painfully low temperatures. However, many astronomers have been quick to point out that no, actually, this tank wouldn't stand much more of a chance on Mars than any other vehicle with a combustion engine. Plenty of military leaders have been foolish enough to underestimate Russian winters, but icy conditions at the top of Asia are nothing compared to the frozen peaks of Mars.

Under good conditions, Mars' temperature wouldn't be a problem for the T-15: the Red Planet's summers can get as warm as 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) which isn't going to cause any problems. The challenge comes in winter—like Earth, Mars' axis is tilted, so the planet has colder and warmer times during the year. Mars' tilt is greater, though, leading to higher fluctuations: warm and sunny summers become cripplingly cold winters, and the temperature can drop to -126 Celsius (-195 Fahrenheit).



There are, of course, far worse planets out there among the stars. You could always end up fighting on a planet whose atmosphere is composed of titanium.
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